On October 01, 2010 at 10:59 UTC the Chang Zheng-3C (Long March 3C) rocket-carrier with the Chang'e 2 space vehicle was launched form Launch Pad No. 2 of the Xichang space center in southwestern Sichuan province, China.
Chang'e 2 began a five-day journey to the moon, where it will enter orbit about 60 miles above the surface.
The probe is designed to observe the moon for at least six months, but it carries enough fuel to operate much longer. Its closest approach to the moon will be at an altitude of just 15 kilometers, or about 9 miles, according to China. Chang'e 2 will map candidate landing sites for the next mission in China's lunar program, which targets a robotic touchdown on the moon after launch in 2013. Another project in China's long-term plans is a vehicle to return soil and rock from the moon back to Earth.